Defending Against Assault and Battery Charges in North Carolina

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “A past conviction is keeping me from finding work. What can I do?”


Defending Against Assault and Battery Charges in North Carolina


Assault and battery charges can be extremely serious. In North Carolina, you could be charged with assault even if you do not actually touch someone else. If you are facing charges of assault a conviction could cause you many problems for years to come. There are options for defending the charges with help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. You may be able to prove your innocence or may be possible to accept a plea deal of a lesser charge. It is helpful to understand assault charges and the possible penalties that you could face if convicted. 



What is Assault?


Assault is the attempt to physically harm another person. Assault and battery occurs when the victim was actually touched or harmed in the incident. Assaults may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the severity of the factors involved in the incident. There are various types of assault including:

  • Simple Assault – Simple assault occurs when someone unlawfully puts their hands on someone else, or threatens to do so. You must have had the immediate ability to carry out the threat. Simple assault is the least serious assault charge.
  • Assault with Bodily Injury – Assault with bodily injury happens when the assault results in serious harm to another. Serious injury generally means any injury that could require medical care or treatment by a doctor. 
  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon – This happens when a person commits assault while in possession of a weapon. A deadly weapon can be a gun or knife, or it may be any other items that could be used in such a way as to severely harm or kill another. 
  • Sexual Battery – Sexual battery is an assault where someone makes sexual or physical contact against the other person’s will or with force. The charge also applies to sexual contact with a person of diminished mental capacity. 
  • Assault of Particular Victims – Assault of some victims is considered a more serious charge. Some assault victims in this category include women, children under age 12, police officers, government employees while they conduct business, and school employees while they are on school property or acting in their official capacity, and sports officials. 


Defending Assault Charges


Assault charges are serious and you could face some significant penalties if convicted. You will also have a criminal record that could keep you from getting a job, attending school, or renting an apartment. There are several ways to defend assault charges. 

  • Self defense
  • Defending another
  • Consent


Self defense is likely the most common way to defend assault charges. Self defense means that you had to do something to stop an immediate threat to your safety. To prove self defense you must show that there was an unlawful threat of harm against you, you were in fear of danger, and there was no other reasonable way to avoid the danger. In addition, you must show that you did not provoke or cause the threat of danger. 


Defending another or your own property requires the same types of proof. You must show that you had fear that someone was in immediate danger of harm unless you took immediate action. Consent generally applies to harm done in situations where there is mutual consent, such as when playing a contact sport. Again, you must prove that you acted in a reasonable way in response to the danger that was present. 


An assault conviction could result in penalties that include a lengthy jail sentence, fines, and more. If you are charged with assault it is helpful to seek an experienced attorney to defend your case and protect your rights. If you have been charged with a crime, we can help. Get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.






The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.



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Self-defense | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (


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